salmon-returns.JPG Why could wild salmon reach $40 per pound? DiFi, Dick Cheney, and other dessicated Village pols keep giving away heavily subsidized water to welfare farmers and energy megacorps in Oregon and California. Without enough water, the salmon die. Who’d a thunk it?

We can always eat farmed salmon, instead? It’s cheaper anyway, right?

Not so fast, Charlie. Want some hormones and antibiotics with your salmon burger? Pound-for-pound,farmed salmon chow down more antibiotics than any other beastflesh you can buy: the pinnacle of the toxic food chain. But wait, there’s more. The Environmental Working Group found 7 of 10 pieces of farmed salmon tested in 2003 had PCB levels so high as to render the fish toxic. PCB’s — another toxic gift from Monsanto that just keeps on giving — are nearly indestructible oily compounds Monsanto hawked for use in electrical equipment. And Monsanto kept on pushing PCB’s, and telling us how safe they were, for decades after they knew full well the indestructible little molecules were — and are — incredibly potent poisons. As far back as the 1930′s PCB’s were known to cause chloracne, tumors, birth defects, reproductive abnormalities, and a host of other horrors.

Oh well — we can trust Monsanto on GMO’s, right?

Anyway, farmed eat fish food made from fish oil, ground-up fish, artificial dyes, and Antarctic critters called krill. PCB’s dissolve in oil — so critters that eat oily fish get lots of yummy PCB’s and other persistent organic pollutants. And critters that eat the critters that eat oily fish get even more of Monsanto’s pride and joy — PCB’s. This process, called bio-accumulation, works so well that Inuit peoples — who eat the walrus and killer whales and seals that eat the oily fish that eat the … well, you get you the picture. Some Inuit peoples have concentrations of PCB so high that if they were food, they’d be confiscated.

Well, no one eats Inuits, so no problem, right Monsanto? Nursing Inuits and their babies don’t see it that way: the way humans excrete PCB and other oily synthetic toxins our bodies can’t break down is by excreting fat. As you’ve probably noticed, we don’t tend to go sliming around leaving trails of fat. Unless, well, we’re nursing. Yep — to produce breast milk, human women (like the other mammals) break down stored body fat to nourish those little critters. Which is why Inuit women (and other circumpolar indigenous peoples) have been found to produce breast milk with incredibly high levels of PCB’s and other potent, indestructible toxic compounds.

Hey — better living through chemistry, right?

Don’t wanna bother to go to the Arctic to raise levels of toxic PCBs in your diet? Hey, you don’t have to — just chow down on farmed salmon. The EWG found the farmed stuff is so laden with toxinsthat people should eat no more than eight ounces per month.

Fond of tumors and synthetic dyes? Well, lucky you — here’s a big steaming pile of farmed salmon. In addition to being flabby (from spending their lives in pens, rather than swimming through the ocean oceans), farmed salmon are a lovely shade of — urp — grey. Those thoughtful salmon farm owners think of everything, so they give their flabby captives a diet high in artificial dyes. Yum.

Fond of PCB’s, tumors, synthetic dyes, and global warming — and have it in for penguins? Well, step right up. Remember that yummy food for farmed salmon? Well, the part that isn’t made from fish oil and oily fish laden with PCB’s and persistent organic pollutants — that part’s made from krill.

What are krill? Oh, just another ocean critter we clever humans are mining to hell. Krill live around the Antarctic, where they are a main component of penguins’ diets and an apparently nifty way of pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and into the deep oceans.

An eco two-fer, right?

So, of course, we’re killing them off for salmon farms. The krill, that is — and hence the penguins that depend upon them.

An ecocidal two-fer.

But wait — there’s more.

Salmon farms also act as giant petri dishes for sea lice. Yum. Sea lice are parasites that slowly accumulate on some salmon as they grow to adulthood, spawn, and die. Mother Nature, clever woman, ensured that the adult salmon croaked and turned to bear meat and forest fertilizer long before their eggs hatched into smolts for the trip out to the ocean. No adult salmon — no sea lice for the little ones.

The miracle of salmon farming, however, ensures that — on their way out to sea — the young salmon run a gantlet of farmed adultish fish in pens — fishy versions of a sea lice Petri dish. This efficient system for killing wild salmon has already crashed salmon in Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. On Canada’s west coast, salmon runs that pass through coastal areas with fish farms are expected to crash in four years.

Bye, wild salmon. Hello, fish farms.

What do toxic crap and chloracne and dead penguins and sea lice and liver tumors have to do with Cheney and DiFi? Without consulting genealogists, the incomplete answer is that Cheney and DiFi give their wealthy pals our Federal water, and their pals turn around and kill off wild salmon across the West by killing off their habitat.

Yesterday the Pacific Fisheries Management Council cancelled the 2008 Chinook salmon fishing season for California and most of Oregon, citing collapse of the only healthy salmon run passing though the California Delta and San Francisco Bay. The week before, DiFi "improved" her plan to give 500 wealthy families federal water that used to feed the Delta — and the salmon.

Oh, the improvement? Well, under the old plan, the 500 Lords of the Westland Water District would only have been able to sell low-cost subsidized federal water for sixty years (twice the length of the average irrigation contract). Under the new plan DiFi loves, the 500 families get an indefinite contract for the water … water they can ultimately turn around and sell on the open market.

What is low-cost federal water? Water from vast projects you and I and all the other U.S. taxpayers paid the Bureau of Reclamation to build for the public good; in the arid West, most of the projects carry water that originally flowed off public lands. The plan DiFi loves takes water from the slopes of the Sierra Nevada that once flowed into the San Joaquin River, and spits it into the Westland’s siphons — and pockets.

WTF does this have to do with salmon?

Well, the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River flow together to create the California Delta, which flows into the Pacific through the San Francisco Bay. The vast Delta-Bay waters form the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of the Western Hemisphere. As estuaries act as giant nurseries for fish and shellfish, the Delta-Bay system is the biggest single fish nursery between Tierra Del Fuego and Alaska.

And DiFi wants to pay 500 families who already suck water out of that system to do so for forever.

And all they had to do was poison 400,000 acres of land and stiff the Feds for $490 million.

Now that’s a return on investment: for every acre of land poisoned and every million I stiff the Feds, DiFi will push through a bill to give me $100 million — and push endangered salmon right over the edge to near-extinction.

Such a deal — for the wealthy 500 families DiFi pays off. And for the deep pockets that own the fish farms killing off Northwest salmon.

If you or I willfully poison an acre of federal land — and kill endangered species — while stiffing the Feds for a million dollars, do you think we would get indefinite rights to sell cheap federal water to the highest bidder? Nope.

We’ll get to be inmates.

In the meantime, we can have antibiotics and sea lice — with a side helping of flabby farmed salmon. Or we can have fresh Pacific Northwest salmon — before the fish farms kill ‘em off — for up to $40 a pound.

Ain’t the Village sweet?

Bon Appetit.

[graph: water4fish.org]